Western Australia's Coral Coast
Get ready for an adventure exploring some of the wonderful places along the west coast of Australia. This epic itinerary begins in WA’s capital and heads north to experience some of the most inspiring sites the state has to offer. Right from the start, you are going to be impressed by the Pinnacles desert National Park- one of Australia’s most unique landscapes- where you find mysterious limestone spires rising out of the desert. Continuing north, you will visit Monkey Mia for a chance to meet the friendly bottlenose dolphins and then to Exmouth to meet some larger marine residents namely the Whale Shark, the largest fish in the world. Your final destination is Broome, but this trip will certainly teach you that its more about the journey than the destination.
- Visit the friendly dolphins at Monkey Mia and get the chance to interact
- Snorkel with the gentle Whale Sharks on Ningaloo reef
- Take a camel ride at sunset on the stunning Cable Beach
- Spot turtles and manta rays from your kayak on a tour from Broome
Itinerary in Brief
- Day 1: Perth to Cervantes
- Day 2: Cervantes to Geraldton
- Day 3: Geraldton to Kalbarri
- Day 4: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia
- Day 5: Full Day Francois Peron 4WD Tour
- Day 6: Monkey Mia to Exmouth
- Day 7: Full Day Deluxe Whale Shark Adventure Swim
- Day 8: Exmouth to Karratha
- Day 9: Karratha to Port Hedland
- Day 10: Port Hedland to Broome
- Day 11: Pearl Farm Tour and Astronomy Experience
- Day 12: Turtle Kayak Adventure
- Day 13: End of Tour
Tailor-made Itinerary Suggestions
- Continue your adventure and make your way around to Darwin via the famous Gibb River Road
- Start the adventure by adding on time south of Perth in the beautiful Margaret River
- Take a trip to Rottnest island from Perth before heading off on your adventure
Day 1: Perth to Cervantes
On arrival in Perth Airport, make your way to the Hertz Car Rental Counter located in the Airport Terminal to collect your car.
Today you will travel from Perth to Cervantes. The drive is 198km/123 miles and approximately 2 hours, 15 minutes drive without stops.
Begin your drive up north with a stop at one of the nine walking trails in the Yanchep National Park. Meet the resident kangaroos, koala colony and wildlife of the woodlands and wetlands and then enjoy a coffee break at the park’s café or restaurant before continuing with your drive. Along the way you will pass through the township of Lancelin, a common holiday spot for locals living in Perth. Lancelin faces west to the Indian Ocean and the local beaches are protected by several small islands. Massive sand hills surround the town on a remote stretch of coastline and are a popular playground for four wheel drivers, bikers and dune buggy racing enthusiasts so take care. Your next stop along the way will be Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park. You can walk through thousands of limestone spires formed over millions of years and the nearby Pinnacles Desert Discovery Centre explains its mysteries, history and habitats. This afternoon you will reach the township of Cervantes, the rock lobster capital. Between November and August, The Lobster Shack offers daily boat tours to collect the lobster pots, as well as factory tours and fresh seafood lunches.
The cray fishing town of Cervantes is your gateway to the Pinnacles Desert of Nambung National Park. Regarded as one of Australia's most unique landscapes, you could almost believe you are walking on the moon as you follow the trail, passing thousands of limestone spires rising eerily out of the shifting sand. The town itself was established in 1962 to accommodate workers in the local cray fishing industry and got its name from the American whaling ship 'Cervantes' that was wrecked here in 1844. It's the mysterious Pinnacles that lie just 17 kilometres from town that lure thousands of visitors to this little enclave. The park is a top spot for emu and kangaroo spotting and puts on an amazing wildflower show in spring.
Day 2: Cervantes to Geraldton
Today you will travel from Cervantes to Geraldton. The drive is 223km/138 miles and approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes drive without stops.
You will begin your drive north stopping at Jurien Bay, a place that offers fantastic swimming, coffee and great beaches. It is not uncommon to spot endangered Australian Sea Lions lazing in the sun on the beaches of the Marine Park. Alternatively for a closer encounter, take a boat tour and watch them frolic in the wild. Continue onto Green Head, where you can stop at Dynamite Bay, number 19 in Australia’s Top 101 Best Beaches in 2017. Travel north to the twin towns of Dongara-Denison, where the Irwin River meets the Indian Ocean. Visit the Big Western Rock Lobster on the highway. Stop for a coffee under the fig trees of Dongara’s Moreton Terrace and discover the town’s charming heritage listed buildings along the 1.6 kilometre walking trail before heading to Geraldton.
Geraldton is one of the larger towns along the Coral Coast. The area’s history is revealed at the beautifully preserved Greenough Central Historic Settlement, as well as in the grand colonial and Spanish missionary architecture of Geraldton. Visit the HMAS Sydney II Memorial, the Geraldton Museum and its Aboriginal art gallery and view the street art, pearl and art galleries and trendy restaurants and cafés. Geraldton is up there with the top must-see surfing, kite surfing, windsurfing, diving, snorkelling, boating and fishing destinations in Australia. It's also ideally situated for exploring one of the greatest displays of spring wildflowers on Earth, with some intriguing Indigenous, maritime and Spanish missionary history to discover along the way.
Day 3: Geraldton to Kalbarri
Today you will travel from Geraldton to Kalbarri. The drive is 154km/96 miles and approximately 1 hour, 45 minutes drive without stops.
Travel towards Northampton, a small rural town on the edge of the wheat belt. Registered as an Historic Town of importance in 1993 it is notable for three buildings of historic interest - Chiverton House (which is now the local museum), the Church of St Mary in Ara Coeli designed by the architect-priest Monsignor John Hawes, and the ruins of Gwalla Church, built by the ex-convict Joseph Horrocks. Continue onto the tiny, sleepy fishing port known as Gregory, made very special by beautiful white sand dunes which are 10–15 metres high, a remarkable pink lake (Hutt Lagoon) and very well preserved convict ruins. Stop at the Pink Lake Lookout - the colour of the lake changes from red to pink to lilac, depending on the time of day, time of year and the cloud cover. The lake is mined both for its salt and for its food colouring properties.
As you continue driving north you will reach the township of Kalbarri. Right before entering Kalbarri you will pass the magnificent costal cliffs such as the Red Bluff and other formations. The popular town of Kalbarri is one of Australia’s most scenic holiday destinations, nestled as it is on the mouth of the beautiful Murchison River. The picturesque town is best known as the gateway to the remarkable inland and coastal gorges of the national park, but offers so much more. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, quad biking, pelican feeding, surfing at the renowned Jacques Point – just a few of the many experiences awaiting. Hike the trails or join a canyoning and abseiling tour. IOr take in the sites such as Z Bend and The Loop (Nature’s Window) which are particularly breath-taking. In town, enjoy a refreshing swim at Chinaman’s Beach, indulge in some retail and spa therapy, or join an exhilarating jet boat, quad biking or sandboarding tour. Kalbarri is where 400 million years of history meets the Indian Ocean in Kalbarri National Park. Where the ancient rugged outback meets white sand beaches, Kalbarri is the ultimate ocean-side adventure playground. On its doorstep, over 183000 hectares of national park beckon you to explore spectacular 400 million year old river gorges, dramatic coastal rock formations and a kaleidoscope of wildflowers. If you’re visiting between July and October, you can see more than 1,100 varieties of Western Australian wildflowers in bloom here, and witness the migration of humpback whales to their feeding grounds in the southern oceans. Before dinner on Kalbarri foreshore, watch the sunset light up the dramatic coastal rock formations.
Day 4: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia
Today you will travel from Geraldton to Kalbarri. The drive is 400km/248 miles and approximately 4 hours, 15 minutes drive without stops.
Start the day with a stop at Hamelin Pool Stromatolites, home to the most diverse and abundant examples of stromatolites in the world. A 200m boardwalk at Hamelin Pool provides excellent views of the stromatolites, microbialites and microbial mats. Nearby is the Old Hamelin Pool Telegraph Station which was built in 1884 as part of the communication line between Perth and Roebourne. The original building is now a museum housing many artefacts. Stop at Eagle Bluff Lookout, which features a spectacularly high cliff that overlooks the Denham Sound. Walk along the boardwalk to see breath-taking views out across the water. This site is an excellent spot for divers and snorkelers. If you get a chance to get into the water you will be amazed by the abundance of fish and coral in this stretch of water and if you are lucky you may also see dolphins, sharks and dugongs. Keep an eye out for the extremely rare West Australian seahorse. Next stop at Shell Beach, a snow-white beach made up of millions of tiny shells up to 10 metres deep and stretching for over 70kms. Shell Beach is one of only a handful of places on earth where shells replace beach sand in such a dramatic and picturesque way. A walk on Shell Beach is like no other. Incredibly, the beach is made up of shells from the Shark Bay cockle, making it truly unique.
This afternoon arrive in Monkey Mia, a popular tourist destination best known for its bottlenose dolphins that get very close to the shore. Wild dolphins have been visiting the shoreline at Monkey Mia virtually every day for over 40 years, making this spot in the Shark Bay World Heritage Area one of the best and most reliable places for dolphin interaction in the world. The story of the Monkey Mia dolphins begins in the early 1960's, when a pod of wild dolphins started making a regular appearance in the clear waters of the bay to interact with humans - delighting visitors with their intelligence, playfulness and grace. As the dolphins are wild, numbers and the time of their visits can vary from day to day, but they usually come to the shore several times a day and more frequently in the mornings. Today, the dolphin interactions are regulated by rangers, with a few lucky visitors selected to hand-feed the dolphins a small amount of fish.
Day 5: Full Day Francois Peron 4WD Tour
Enjoy a full day to experience Monkey Mia.
You will join a 4wd Adventure never to be forgotten with a local Aboriginal guide to explore the amazing Francois Peron National Park. This tour allows you to immerse yourself in nature and culture and feel the energy of this world class park, where the red sand from the deserts kisses the beautiful turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean. Learn why visitors from all across the planet want to travel here and expect the unexpected and we are delighted to teach you how.
Even before Shark Bay became a World Heritage Area, local Nhanda and Malgana Aboriginal people have been looking after this place. Learn about the amazing conservation work being done today to restore the balance of nature as we take you to find any number of native species and discover firsthand why this place is a World Heritage Site. You will visit fantastic look outs like Skipjack Point, Point Peron where the Eastern Bay meets the Western Bay plus many other scenic locations which provide breathtaking views across the beautiful bays. Look for turtles, rays, sharks, dugongs, manta rays, birds, and much more. Also look for the amazing Thorny Devil lizard, the elusive Echidna, Kangaroos, Snakes and other rare and endangered wildlife.
Tours are fully catered, providing delicious and healthy home-style catering on the beach or other spectacular locations across this picturesque National Park, and guests can even enjoy a refreshing snorkel and swim in one the many sheltered bays, if whether permits.
The tour finishes with a relaxing dip in the natural Hot Tub at the Peron Homestead.
Day 6: Monkey Mia to Exmouth
Travel from Monkey Mia to Exmouth today, a drive which is is 708km/440 miles and approximately 7 hours, 30 minutes without stops.
** Please note that today is a long driving day. Any stops at points of interest is not recommended. Take plenty of water and food provisions. Ensure your vehicle has a full petrol tank prior to departing Monkey Mia.
For somewhere to stop along the way, the town of Carnarvon is known for producing most of the states seafood with a thriving prawn, scallop, crab and fishing industry. As you continue to travel north you will pass through the Tropic of Capricorn. Make Coral Bay your next pit stop, a small township that lies protected from the Indian Ocean by the Ningaloo Reef, Australia’s only fringing reef.
As you approach Exmouth you can visit the Cape Range National Park, a spectacular place of rugged limestone ranges, breath-taking deep canyons and 50 kilometres of pristine beaches. The park covers 50,581 hectares and its northern boundary is just 40 kilometres from Exmouth. Wildlife is abundant with a variety of birds, emus, euros and red kangaroos. Cape Range National Park offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors interested in the natural environment.
Step off the shore near Exmouth, swim a few metres through the clearest turquoise water on Earth, and you'll find yourself drifting over the world's largest fringing reef - the World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef. This underwater paradise is a popular spot for all kinds of visitors, from dolphins, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales, to the largest fish in the ocean - the gentle whale shark.
Day 7: Full Day Deluxe Whale Shark Adventure Swim
Discover the Ningaloo Reef and swim alongside whale sharks on this 8 and a half hour guided tour. Learn how to interact with the whale sharks, the biggest fish in the sea, and snorkel around the reef. Spotter planes help locate the whalesharks as they are in the wild, not fed to attract them, so you will be in a prime location to swim with them. Along the way, an onboard marine biologist will teach you about the sharks and reef ecology. In addition, you will have the chance to spot manta rays, humpbacks, dugongs, and dolphins.
Includes: hotel pick-up, snacks, buffet lunch, light refreshments, snorkelling equipment, complimentary videos and photos
Bring: swimwear, towel, hat, sunglasses and take a seasickness tablet on the morning of tour if required
Day 8: Exmouth to Karratha
Today you will travel from Exmouth to Karratha. The drive is 547km/340 miles and approximately 6 hours, 45 minutes drive without stops.
** Please note that today is a long driving day. Any stops at points of interest is not recommended. Take plenty of water and food provisions. Ensure your vehicle has a full petrol tank prior to departing Exmouth.
There are limited Rest Stops along the way. You will pass the Boulders, a smaller version of the Devil’s Marbles (Karlu Karlu) on the drive to the township of Karratha, in the Pilbara Region. The town was established in 1968 to accommodate the processing and exportation workforce of the Hamersley Iron mining company and, in the 1980s, the petroleum and liquefied natural gas operations of the North West Shelf Venture. Karratha is the perfect base to explore the natural beauty of its surrounds. The ancient Aboriginal rock engravings on the Burrup Peninsula and the picturesque beach at Hearson's Cove are within a twenty minute drive of Karratha, as is the port town of Dampier. Visit Tank Hill Lookout, Searipple Road and Maitland Road Lookout, the Read Earth Arts Precinct and Back Beach, where at low tide you can walk out and catch crabs. If time permits, walk one of the five Walking Trails in the area, including the Yaburara Heritage Trail.
Day 9: Karratha to Port Hedland
Today you will travel from Karratha to Port Hedland. The drive is 230km/143 miles and approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes drive without stops.
On your way you will be able to visit the historic towns of Roebourne, and if time permits Cossack and Point Samson. Roebourne is the oldest settlement between Geraldton and Darwin. It has a fascinating Heritage Walk around town which focuses on the large number of buildings which were constructed between 1870-1900. When visiting Roebourne, you can see local artist groups at work. If time permits, take the Emma Withnell Historical Trail, a 52km driving and walking route that starts at Roebourne and takes in Cossack, Wickham and Point Samson. When exploring Cossack's historic settlement, take a boat trip to the lighthouse on Jarman Island. In Point Samson - don’t miss out on tasting freshly caught seafood as the town is famous for its fish and chips. Follow the Point Samson Heritage Trail to explore the towns interesting past. Continue on to Port Hedland with a stop at Whim Creek Pub for lunch. The pub was built in 1886 to cater for local miners. Today it is a popular, and cool, retreat for travellers - look carefully, the hotel was made in the UK and shipped out to the Pilbara where it was constructed.
This afternoon you will arrive in Port Hedland, the gateway and central hub connecting the Pilbara and the Kimberley. The town has its origins in shipping and mining - visitors have the unique opportunity to witness the operations of the world's biggest mining company, and to getup close to the big ships of the world's largest export tonnage port. Follow the award-winning Cultural and Heritage Trail and explore Port Hedland’s Indigenous and European history. Take a tour of the BHP Iron Ore and Dampier Salt shipping area at Nelson Point. Get some fascinating insights at the Dalgety House Museum, and the School of the Air. Catch the views from the Town Observation Tower or Koombana Lookout. Explore the tidal creeks at Pretty Pool and Six Mile Creek. If you’re up for a refreshing swim, jump into the cool water at Pretty Pool (clothing optional beach). Being based on the coast means the town is fortunate to be home to native flora and fauna, such as the green birdflower (crotalaria cunninghamii) and flatback turtles. Wander along Cooke Point and catch the 'Staircase to the Moon' between May and October. And if you visit during the winter months, you can enjoy the seasonal display of wildflowers.
Day 10: Port Hedland to Broome
Travel from Port Hedland to Broome today. The drive is 612km/381 miles and approximately 6 hours, 15 minutes drive without stops.
** Please note that today is a long driving day. Any stops at points of interest are not recommended. Take plenty of water and food provisions. Ensure your vehicle has a full petrol tank prior to departing Port Hedland.
The drive from Port Hedland to Broome runs along Eighty Mile Beach and promises spectacular views of the Great Sandy Desert’s massive sand dunes and beautiful Cape Keraudren. Famous for fishing, it is also an important feeding ground for migratory birds, making it an ideal place for bird watching. Each year an astonishing half a million migratory shorebirds descend on Eighty Mile Beach, flying in from their feeding and breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle. Continue towards Broome, affectionately known as the pearling capital of Australia. Broome is the western gateway to the Kimberley wilderness, home to the world famous 22km Cable Beach sunsets and natural phenomenon of the Staircase to the Moon.
Day 11: Pearl Farm Tour and Astronomy Experience
Today you will have a full day to discover this wonderful region.
Explore Broome, the historic center of the pearling industry, in the company of a fourth-generation pearler in this exclusive experience. Board a 72-foot (22-meter) catamaran and explore the journey of the pearls from seabed to store; experience the pearl harvest, learn how to differentiate between different types of pearls, sample pearl meat, and savor a full lunch.
Later this evening enjoy the ultimate journey to the stars! Broome's Astronomy Experience, led by ABC's Space Gandalf, is a 2-hour educational and entertaining mind bender using big telescopes, lasers and fun under some of the best stargazing skies on the planet.
You'll find Greg Quicke (Space Gandulf) running star shows for the public from April to October at the Astro Tours dark site an easy (for any type of car) 20 minutes drive out of Broome, Western Australia.
Day 12: Turtle Kayak Adventure
Another full day to discover more about this region.
Experience Broome’s local tidal landscape on a paddle adventure. Explore the natural environment and extraordinary colours where you have a chance to spot sea turtles, dolphins, fish, manta rays, aundant migratory birds and in the appropriate season, humpback whales. Enjoy great guides with years of experience and their commentary on the history, culture and natural wonders of the local area.
Includes: Single or Double sit-on-top sea kayaks hire, Lifejackets (PFDs), Dry bags for cameras/phones or valuables, Individual serve beach snack and cold drink.
Day 13: End of tour
Return your rental vehicle to the airport, allowing plenty of time to connect with your departing flight.
|Pinnacles Edge Resort
|Ibis Styles Geraldton
|Kalbarri Palm Resort
|RAC Monkey Mia Dolphin Resort
|Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort
|Econo Lodge Karratha
|The Esplanade Hotel Port Hedland
|Cable Beach Club Resort
- 13 days of car rental with Hertz Australia -Intermediate (ICAR) with Maximum cover, unlimited mileage and GPS rental
- Wula Gura Nyinda Eco Adventure - Full Day Francois Peron 4WD Tour
- 2 nights at Mantarays Ningaloo Beach Resort - Standard Room
- Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo - Full Day Deluxe Whale Shark Adventure Swim
- Paspaley - Half Day VIP Paspaley Pearl Farm Tour
- Astro Tours - Broome's Astronomy Experience
- Broome Adventure Company - Afternoon Broome Turtle Kayak Adventure
- Total meals provided: 10 X Breakfasts, 3 X Lunches, 0 X Dinners
- Government Goods and Services Tax of 10% (GST)
- Travel Wallet
What’s not included?
- One way fee payable directly to Hertz car rental as AUD$1,430.00
- Supplier surcharges when date/time of service required occurs on a public holiday or outside of standard hours
- Both international and internal Australian flights (unless otherwise specified)
- Optional tours and services
- Meals other than those specified above
- Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone calls, mini bar, laundry, etc.)
- Travel insurance (cancellations, loss of deposits, delays, etc.)
- All itinerary components are subject to change without notice
- All inclusions are subject to availability at the time of booking
- The itinerary is subject to the operation of individual touring components. Certain tours may need to be alternated